I'm not a lip reader but there was an exchange in the first half on the Arizona bench that went like this:
Fendi Onobun: You have three fouls?
Jerryd Bayless: (nods head)
Onobun: (shaking his head) Fuck!
I don't want to beat a dead horse, but let's go over the key to victory: Bayless and Budinger.
The two combined for 15 points as USC's triangle and two proved to be effective and Kevin O'Neill like the bad coach that he is, had no adjustments and no answers. Arizona lost at home for the fifth time this season.
Remember in the first first game, USC's defense was able to shut down Bayless also, and hold him to 10 points.
However, Budinger was on fire and went off for 29, plus Jawann McClellan had a season high 23.
Tim Floyd is smart enough to know that letting McClellan beat you is a good game plan. Getting practically the same shots he did in the first game, McClellan had 14 points on 4-10 shooting including several shots that either airballed or just grazed the front rim.
Bayless had a season low eight points and for the second straight time was outplayed by OJ Mayo who had 23 points and five assists.
Taj Gibson took Jordan Hill to school the whole first half, showing him the jump hook, the drop step and the up and under.
In the second half, the Wildcats fronted Gibson and doubled him when he got the ball but by that time they were battling back from a 16 point deficit.
Just like in the Stanford game, O'Neill burned all his timeouts early, so he could offer no instruction late in the game when Arizona couldn't even make the game interesting.
And of course to top it off, some idiot fan threw a bottle toward the USC bench like that would somehow make it better. So now the Zona Zoo is not only uncreative and not knowledgeable, but also looks classless.
About the only thing O'Neill did right Thursday night was apologize to Tim Floyd and his team. He should probably apologize for his team's play too.
Easy does it:
The best thing the Miami Heat have going for them is assistant coach Keith Askins bow tie. That, unlike their team, looks good. The Lakers had Thursday's game in the bag before tip off.
Why didn't the Grizzlies ask for Jordan Farmar instead of Javaris Crittenton? Do you think the Lakers would have given up Farmar? For the deal they got I think the Grizz could have negotiated Farmar into the deal and made it look less like an Ocean's heist.
Since the Lakers make bad teams look, well, bad, let's talk about the team chemistry. Ronny Turiaf should be wired for every game. That needs to be an NBA rule.
Here's what the TNT "Inside Tracks" got from Farmar's mic.
Farmar: "Come on Walton, dunk that."
Turiaf: (In French sounding accent): "Dunk it."
And also, when Kobe dunks, he doesn't dance. Ronny dances for him.
When Turiaf is swatting shots, Kobe's standing up and clapping.
When everybody enjoys each other, the passing becomes becomes better, guys share the ball, and no one cares who gets the credit. That leads to plays like the one in the middle of the third quarter when Kobe threw a no look over the shoulder pass to Luke Walton in the front court, and Walton dropped a no look pass to a cutting Lamar Odom for an easy lay-up.
That leads to Kobe and Farmar taking the same amount of shots in a game. Farmar set a career high with 24 points and is averaging 22.5 points over his last two games.
It leads to everyone going after it on the boards. Four guys had at least 11 rebounds. Odom, Gasol and Walton each had 11 and Turiaf had 12.
It's fun to watch because it's not just Kobe doing the scoring anymore. Kobe has trust in his teammates, finally, and that's encouraging. Plus, like his role with Team USA, Kobe gets to go after it defensively because he no longer has to save himself for shooting 30 times a game.
By the way, nothing to report on "Pinkie Watch," so that's always a positive.
Fun with Ralph and Mike:
Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith don't have too much to talk about these days. You see, they're Clipper announcers and the Clippers are well...bad. So these are the type of conversations they have:
Lawler (to Smith): "The two of you have something similar in your resumes. Both former WAC players of the year, (Nick Fazekas) was three times."
Smith: "Make sure you understand WAC is spelled W-A-C not W-A-C-K."
Lawler: "I know how I'm spelling it because you are truly Wack."
Halftime was commercial free, also. Apparently advertisers think the Clippers are Wack.
CSUN is still in first place in the Big West: Check out my Daily News article on their win at Cal State Fullerton.
As always, an updated Lakers +/- (through 58 games) Lakers: 41-17 1st in West
Up next: at Portland Friday 7:30 p.m. PST KCAL